This One Is Mine by Maria Semple

thisoneI loved Where’d You Go Bernadette? so much that I immediately got this one (her first book) from the library and promptly started it.  I didn’t like it quite as much as Bernadette, though, like Bernadette, I found it hard to put down.  I liked the snappy writing and this also changed pov’s quite a bit, so you see various pieces of a story and the bigger picture before the characters themselves do.  She definitely has a style that is identifiable, and one which I like.  I’d say the main reason I didn’t like this one quite as much is this: there are three main characters in this book and they are all kind of awful.  Just when you think you’re rooting for someone they go ahead and do something terrible.  You see flashes of a good side, but then it seems like their bad side takes over.  I like to be on board with at least one character (and, for all her flaws, I liked Bernadette and didn’t think she was a bad person at all) and there were times when I found myself thinking, “you’re all so awful who cares that you’re making terrible mistakes and messing up your lives!” But you know me, deep down (not so deep down) I was rooting for a happy ending.

The story is this-Violet and David are married and living a fancy life in LA. She used to write for television (just like the author) and he is a superstar famous music producer.  Hanging out with Mick Jagger or Ringo Starr or other up and coming bands is totally normal for them.  They have a darling baby Dot, who is primarily cared for by the nanny, whom they call LadyGo. Their perfect life is really not so great as we find out from each of them.  Their marriage has become bitter and resentful.  A seemingly entirely separate storyline revolves around David’s sister, Sally.  She is vain, shallow, scheming and I really found her a terrible person.  She sets her sights on a man she calculates will become famous and begins forcing a romance. It is evident to everyone (at least every reader) that the man is autistic or has Aspberger’s Syndrome.  Yet she remains clueless. I found it strange that no one else who knew him every mentioned it to her.  Anyway, Violet one day meets a man who completely bewitches her.  She is wildly attracted to Teddy and on fire for him.  He’s an old junkie, crass, vulgar, and for some reason he turns her on.  I spent a lot of time shouting in my head at Violet to just walk away from Teddy. But she did not listen to me. And thus everything falls to pieces for everyone. And then the pieces begin to fit together.

Even though I was mad at the characters often, I really like Semple’s writing and I was dying to find out what would happen to everyone, so I would recommend this too.

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